From This is a Book by Demetri Martin
From This is a Book by Demetri Martin
Christina Gillick for Bidsketch writes:
I wanted to double my hourly rate – for the primary purpose of having more leisure time. Throughout the year I tested different techniques and strategies so I could work less and earn more.
Some worked. Some didn’t.
But, at the end of the year, I more than doubled my hourly rate and I worked less than part time (or 20 hours per week).
If you too want to work fewer hours – or increase your hourly rate – here are 8 ways to maximize your working hours …
We get an idea for a thing, think about the technology we’d use to build it, and get excited.
“I could build this on the Twilio API!”
“I could learn that new CSS framework!”
“I could use this new tool I just purchased!”
The problem is that all of this is focused on us, the creator, and not on the customer, the consumer.
UPDATE: Justin’s post created some controversial on HackerNews
Let’s take a look at some of the most thought provoking and helpful posts from around the web uncovered in the past month that were particularly relevant to the business of providing technical freelancing/services.
Flaws in Handling New Business Inquiries
The WAV Group had researchers pose as consumers and make inquiries with real estate brokers. The results were depressing. Their results were about right for technology consultants as well, in my experience.
Unfortunately, that’s not the the most depressing part. It’s embarrassing for me to admit this, but the very week this study came across my desk I blew off a new contact …and we were discussing some ways we could work together. I didn’t ignore him intentionally. I simply completely dropped the ball on getting back to him in an email thread we were having.
I never like to leave somebody hanging. I have no excuse, though I told myself I was too wrapped up in a couple of projects that suddenly picked up momentum that week to continue the thread wholeheartedly. I still should have acknowledged him and said something before it became a 14 (!) day gap of silence. This is Customer Service 101 and I blew it. Learn from my mistake.
The always forthright Naomi Dunford over at IttyBiz discusses 5 things to do when you feel like you’re hemorrhaging money. This feeling, unfortunately, is common for freelancers and for anyone who goes into business for themselves since we’re constantly taking risks and not collecting a regular paycheck each week. She discusses how to figure out why you feel like you’re hemorrhaging money then how to decide what you’re going to do about it. The bottom-line is this: As long as you let that feeling just float around as a feeling, you’re going to bleed out.
Dr. Freelance (aka: Jake Poinier) answers a readers question about LLC/corporate entities for freelancers on his blog. My view is that even if you don’t form an entity initially, at least acquire an EIN (Tax ID) just for your business activities so you don’t end up giving out your social security number (SSN) to clients…
Getting an EIN was one of the first things I did because there was no way I was going to be handing out my SSN to clients … Doubly so when I’m doing information security consulting for them.
It was a pretty simple online process a few years ago and I think I even got it instantly (which was good because I needed it for a new client request that day!) It looks to be the same straightforward online application process to get an EIN from the IRS these days. Anyhow, go see what else Jake has to say on the LLC/incorporating topic and decide what makes the most sense for you. (Yes, the specifics of this are US-centric, but the principles apply elsewhere.)
Freelancer Michael Jones did a pretty bad ass presentation (video) for a user group on The Business of Freelance based on his personal experiences and a broad economic examination of working as a digital creative services freelancer. His video presentation is 19 minutes long and well worth it. The good stuff starts just under 2 minutes in, but the first part gives you some context on his professional experience.
Also, here’s a quick look back at the latest original content posted last month on the ITConsultingLessons.com blog:
15 Ways to Get Paid Fast When Freelancing - These are the techniques I’ve found most effective to get paid fast when doing technology freelancing. Or, as I described it to some folks on Reddit,15 Ways To Get Paid With Less Hassle as a Freelancer: Battle Tested Techniques You Can Implement Immediately to Get Paid Fast, Efficiently, and Professionally.
The Freelancing Technologist Success Ladder - Many think that folks more successful than themselves are better at marketing, lucky… or some other mysterious attribute. That may be true, but often they’re in an entirely different business. It’s no wonder folks get frustrated trying to chase others when they are on the outside looking in: They’re chasing the outward results someone else is achieving but don’t understand the underlying strategy or positioning. Based on my own realization of this and frustrations over it, this is my attempt to document some of these different approaches to the business of freelancing, all with quite different positioning.
Brennan Dunn produced a nifty looking technical freelancing course, hosted by Skillshare. Here’s how, in part, he describes the course: “As a freelancer, it’s easy to be overcome by fear and make sacrifices — by accepting lower rates or poor quality clients — in order to keep us moving forward. Rarely do we step back and work on our business, rather than in our business. If your effective rate is NOT $200 an hour, or $8,000 a week, you should join this class.” The class is $20. Read the full course outline and reviews left by others who have already taken the online course.
That’s it for last month. Enjoy the rest of your week. Don’t forget to subscribe to the email list or RSS feed. Oh, and learn from my mistake.
P.S. I may have missed something that you think deserves consideration and that your peers might appreciate as well. Shoot me a email or hit me on Twitter (@jtr) if so. -Josh
Your focus should be on automation & efficient systems first and foremost to easily manage the monotony while you get to work for your clients.
So, from my experience I’ve put together sort of a 101 for new freelancers and experienced ones alike.
Last year Mike McDerment, the founder of FreshBooks, and Donald Cowper, published a free eBook called Breaking the Time Barrier – How to Unlock Your True Earning Potential.
The tagline is “Learn how to charge what you’re really worth. Read this book and find out how you can earn twice as much as you do today.”
It’s an excellent guide, and it’s free (well, you can donate if you like, but not until AFTER you’ve read it).
Many of the approaches discussed are similar to the work of Alan Weiss, of Summit Consulting, namely the proposal structure and value-based fees1, while being a bit more accessible to the typical freelancer.
It is a fairly quick and easy read eBook and anyone doing freelancing, consulting, or quasi-consulting service-based businesses will get something out of it.
which is not a bad thing; I’ve learned a lot from Alan’s body of work in this area ↩
About four years ago, we decided to no longer compromise on our beliefs, and the results have been nothing short of amazing. We’ve been thrilled to discover that some of the companies we’ve most admired happen to share our views, and have even become our clients because of our beliefs. Time after time, we’ve confirmed that engaging those clients that share our beliefs is a general precursor to successful, enjoyable projects. And in the process, we’ve created some great products, delivered some major success and value, and have had a blast doing it.
Matt Henderson on Why we do not sign NDAs at Makalu.
Matt Henderson of Makalu shares his thoughts on pricing in technical services work in this post from his firm’s blog. He hits on:
When I started Makalu, over a decade ago, I remember longing for a user’s manual to help with questions like, “How much should I charge?” and “How should I price my work?” This article describes how we approached these questions, and includes discussion of the recent controversy over the pricing of the 37signals’s (@37signals) blog redesign project.
On the pricing of services work by Matt Henderson
Brian Casel hits on some specific ideas for freelancers looking to move up the value ladder.
Are you getting tired of churning out WordPress website after website for clients? Is managing SEO for clients getting more competitive and less rewarding? Have some specialized skills but don’t know how to package and monetize them?
Here a couple ideas that I think are perfectly under-served and ripe for some talented freelancers to go after and make a name for themselves.